Most Kiwis don't have enough savings to weather economic downturn, survey finds

Source: 1News

Many New Zealanders are unsure of how they will cope in the wake of economic uncertainty brought about by the coronavirus.

Comedy star Urzila Carlson opened last year’s Melbourne Comedy Festival but last week coronavirus concerns saw this year’s event cancelled.

She is one of thousands in the entertainment industry affected by mass event cancellations.

She joked: “2020 is the year of zero income."

The Government’s assistance package targets Kiwis facing cutbacks or redundancy but many others are unsure how they will cope.

A recent survey shows 20 per cent of Kiwis could last just one week or less if they lost their job.

Only five per cent have enough money for six to 12 months and nearly 60 per cent have savings of less than $500.

One financial adviser says everyone worries about money and in tough times, advice helps.

“If you have been made redundant obviously you are in crisis and you need an urgent plan. If you are likely to be made redundant you've got twelve weeks to sort yourself out,” says financial adviser Hannah McQeen.

Advisers say 20 per cent of after tax income is spent on discretionary items like holidays and eating out but even small changes can make a difference.

“Instead of spending $150 a week on food, you're spending a $100 a week that you aren't eating out, going to the gym, that you're turning off the lights when you leave the room because you need your electricity bill to be lower," she says.

Financial experts say three months worth of savings is considered the benchmark for financial resilience.